Fragile Wings

Where was the open sky?
Come on and meet the prisoner,
Who thought that she could fly.

“Religious” girls in summer,
Blouses buttoned high.
I’d see long skirts, with stockings,
As I would pass them by.

I’d laugh inside me, mocking,
The girls I used to see.
Those girls are missing so much.
How trapped could people be?

But how could I have known then,
Jogging through summer rain,
I strode past them, uncovered,
In years before the pain.

Those girls kept their wings hidden,
And my own wings got crushed.
Why did I jump too quickly?
Why was my childhood rushed?

Crystalline wings they treasured,
Even at that young age.
My wings, I learned, were fragile,
When I hit bars inside the cage.

My wings have long been broken.
Can they be healed?
Those girls now fly past rainbows.
Tell me, how does it feel?

Inside, I’m thrashing lamely.
Can I get free?
Now that I see the picture—
Reversed, ironically.

Where was the freedom promised?
Where was the open sky?
Here I am. Meet the prisoner,
Who thought that she could fly.

–  Bracha Goetz